This Healthy Poke Bowl Recipe combines chunks of succulent raw ahi tuna dressed up with a light sesame ginger vinaigrette star in my customizable poke bowl recipe ... This nutritious powerhouse dish is bursting with flavor, and so quick and easy to make! It's a perfect dinner on a scorching hot summer's day. 🥵
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Poke Bowl Recipes
Having spent nearly 22 years in a land-locked state (New Mexico), I missed the food trend that had apparently taken coastal mainland U.S. by storm - poke bowls.
My introduction to poke bowls came during our first trip to south Texas' South Padre Island. Our favorite little eatery Ceviche Ceviche makes them, and while I could not tear myself away from their insanely delicious ceviche, I did ask for a quick lesson on poke and poke bowls. Poke (pronounced poh-kay) means "to cut" in Hawaiian, and traditionally includes thick cubes of raw tuna.
Traditionally, the tuna is served with sushi rice, but the new poke bowls incorporate a variety of fresh veggies, carbs, and signature sauces. You may even find a poke bowl with salmon, octopus, or tofu!
Flexibility with Recipes
I love this casual approach to meal planning - lots of healthy and fresh ingredients tied together with a flavorful sauce or seasoning mixture. It's so easy (and fun) to offer many options, and allow your diners to customize their own bowls...
This approach is similar to my Tropical Buddha Bowls with Plantains, Black Beans, and Mango Salsa with an entirely different flavor profile. 😀 The tuna soaks up the flavors of a savory, umami-rich ginger sesame vinaigrette while the vegetables and garnishes are prepped.
🔪 Knife Skills
How are your knife skills? This dish is all prep work... Well, almost! You do have to cook your rice and mix the dressing.
Obviously, I chose to use black rice, and I'd cooked it the previous day when I was testing the recipe. Chilling it overnight had the added benefit of allowing me to mold it - a nice aesthetic touch to my pretty platter don't you think?
🥗 Poke Bowl "Riffs"
My aim with this post is to provide you with a "template" (my hubby's word) to make the recipe your own. Don't get fixated on black rice, though its nutritional stats are impressive and the texture so appealing. If you love quinoa, use quinoa. If you want more of a sushi experience, use sushi rice. You can go totally low-carb on this (if you must), and skip that altogether.
As I mentioned, I LOVE TUNA. RAW TUNA. ALL THE RAW TUNA. Perhaps you don't, and that's okay! You can sub in the best quality raw fish you can get at your fish monger or seafood counter. You can sub cooked shrimp if you shiver at the thought of raw.
Raw means sushi or sashimi grade. Shellfish (think scallops, shrimp, octopus, squid) would be amazing as well. If raw makes you squirm, use cooked fish but don't tell me. 😉 I think grilled and cubed chicken and quick-fried tofu would be delicious as well.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- protein - As I mentioned, I LOVE TUNA. RAW TUNA. ALL THE RAW TUNA. Perhaps you don't, and that's okay! You can sub in the best quality raw fish you can get at your fish monger or seafood counter. You can sub cooked shrimp if you shiver at the thought of raw. Shellfish (think scallops, octopus, squid) would be amazing as well. If raw makes you squirm, use cooked fish but don't tell me. 😉 I think grilled and cubed chicken and quick-fried tofu would be delicious as well.
- greens - I tried a couple of options including shredded napa cabbage, but we loved the texture of spiralized zucchini. If you have a spiralizer, what are your favorites? Broccoli slaw, julienned (or spiralized) cucumbers, bok choy, red leaf lettuce, etc. make great alternatives. We love baby Limas and edamame too.
- more veggies - Avocado, thin-sliced Fresno chile, scallions, radishes, cilantro are so great!
- garnishes - I think we had the most fun with the garnishes. I pulled out my pickled ginger (something I keep on hand for sushi), a package of "seaweed snacks" (aka dried wakame), and a jar of furikake (rice seasoning). Toasted sesame seeds, chopped cashews, IDK, what do you love? If it speaks "Asian" to you, try it! This is a playful and fun dish that begs creativity. 🙂 Go for it!
- Prepare your base - Prepare your chosen base if you're not using leftovers. I used chilled black rice that I'd made the previous day, and pressed it into a bowl to mold it for presentation. This step is totally optional.
- Make the dressing - Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.
- Prepare your protein - Cut your protein into ½" cubes. Add to a small prep bowl, and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Allow it to soak while you prep the remaining ingredients.
- Prepare veggies and garnishes - Prepare your veggies and garnishes. You may wish to arrange on a large platter and allow diners to make their own bowl, or skip that step, and make individual bowls as you go. It's all about flexibility and personal preferences!
- Assemble - Drizzle each bowl with some of the remaining dressing, and preferred garnishes. Dig in!
🧂 Useful Stuff
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NO! See the ingredients list for lots of ideas. Cooked shrimp and rotisserie chicken can be great substitutes!
NO! This is a "template" more than it is a "recipe." White rice, brown rice, sushi rice, no rice are fine. Make it your own!
I really do want to emphasize the flexibility of Healthy Tuna Poke Bowls. Think template rather than recipe. It really is freeing to break free from books and recipes and learn to cook with flavor profiles and a well-stocked pantry. I'd love to hear your thoughts...